Well, what a rollercoaster of a day! We’ve had emotional highs and lows but are now showered, fed and rested back at the hostel.
We arrived in Pak Chong yesterday, and from our hostel receptionist we booked the full day rainforest trek they offered for groups, priced at 1750TBH per person (£40pp) to Khao Yai National Park. We got to the meeting point at 8am this morning to find we were the only two on the trip, so had our own personal guide for the day (usually priced at 3500TBHpp). Already this was incredible value for money!
The first thing we were handed were some extremely stylish bright purple leach socks, to stop all your blood being drained of course when walking through water. Apparently wearing shorts wasn’t a good idea, but I hadn’t brought any long trousers on our travels, so skin was on show for the leaches – I did however cover myself in mosquito spray just to overcompensate. Our tour guide was amazing, and I would thoroughly recommend JJ Adventure Tours if you’re ever in Pak Chong/ Thailand. She was a crazy women who did the best gibbon impressions I had ever heard, and helped me out of some difficult situations, as I’ll come onto.
From Pak Chong train station it was about an hours drive to the national park. We had only driven about 100m into the park before we saw our first monkeys. They wouldn’t come up to your car like in England, you could tell they were in their home, they just watched you, looked after their babies and went about their day. It was really nice to see the level of respect everyone had for the animals, it took us a good half an hour to overtake an elephant who had decided to go for a morning stroll down the road.
A further 200m up the road there were a family of gibbons swinging tree to tree above our heads. Apparently this was a very rare sight and many other tour guides were jealous that they hadn’t seen any haha! The view from the mountains were unbelievable, I know it’s a cliche but they were so picturesque! The clouds layered up the side of the mountains just looked like something out of a film, it was soon going to take a turn for the worse!
After we’d had our included tour lunch, a fantastic sweet and sour chicken with rice aswell as a steamed veg and rice for Georgi, we headed on our trek down to the river to hunt for crocodiles. It was at this point which we realised our “trainers” were not hiking boots and things were going to get very tough. The rain started as soon as we embarked down the first slope. It was steep, slippery, muddy and had all sorts of dangerous animals lurking everywhere you put your hands and feet.
We saw spiders as big as my hand (non venomous) but didn’t spot any snakes. We bumped into a few big lizards but nothing as big as the crocodiles. To see the crocodile up close and personal we had to get to the path on the other side of the river, the only way to cross this river was by walking over a fallen down tree .. this is no joke, watch the video! We had to shuffle across this tree, knowing that if you fell in the water there were 2m long crocs waiting. I will be completely honest, my balance is awful (you might have seen on our bike riding video) and I was pretty much shitting myself as I made my way over this tree. Georgi however made it across with ease!
On the way back up the hill it really started to hammer down with rain, Georgi by this point was hating life, she had honestly had enough. She had to help me up parts, I had to help her over obstacles, it was like a team building exercise haha! The tour guide even helped me from my splits position after I nearly slipped off and into the river.
PLEASE BE AWARE THERE ARE NO RAILINGS OR HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS, THIS IS 100% THE REAL DEAL.
When we finally got into the car park Georgi’s quote was “I am never doing that again”.. we shall see.
(At least we had a nice photo before the mayhem)